Change Terrifies Conservatives

04/12/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mike Papantonio Papantonio hosts Ring of Fire radio, and is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel

When you drill down to the center of what most motivates a traditional conservative, you will find a fear-of-change boogeyman lurking somewhere in a dark corner. It is a mentality that prevented 13th century Europeans from sailing ships too far in any one direction. They were fearful of sailing off the edge of a flat earth. Once they overcame their fear and made it to North America, the conservative American Tories were too terrified to declare independence from Great Britain because that change was too dramatic. Lord knows how frightening ideas like evolution, the United Nations, Lady Gaga, and Obama had to be for the die-hard conservative.

Lately conservative leadership has surfaced with a new idea about how they can ease the suffering that change causes for their fearful conservative flock. I call it rewrite therapy. It is where they create an alternative reality by rewriting or erasing historical events that cause them anxiety. It began with the Conservative Bible Project. That is a project aimed at removing from the Bible anything that conservatives regard as liberal bias. For example, the oddballs working on this project tell us that liberals changed the ancient wording of the Bible in such a way that "free market thinking was distorted" with wording that promotes concepts of socialism. They want to see words like "laborer" and "fellow worker" and "comrade" yanked from the Bible. That is change they can believe in.

The bleeding heart liberals this gaggle of nuts worry about apparently are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who are responsible for this liberal tone that turns the teachings of Jesus into scary socialist dogma. But change is in the air everywhere. In Texas, a conservative group of State Board of Education members demanded a rewrite of their history books. Their argument is that liberals distorted the truth about the age of McCarthyism. They want that changed.

Joe McCarthy truly was one of their own. It makes sense that those conservative labored thinkers in Texas would want to rewrite the history about McCarthy and conclude that he was an American hero. But before those conservative Texans rewrite that history, let me at least preserve the truth here. Their conservative hero destroyed the lives of hundreds of decent scientists, writers, actors, career military personnel, politicians, and clergy as he created a cold war hysteria that dwarfed the Salem witch-hunt. In the end, Joe was exposed as a delusional drunk who suffered with paranoia, delirium tremens and anxiety attacks that should have caused him to be institutionalized. Rewriting that history to find sanity and decency in the conduct of Crazy Joe is the equivalent of the conservative effort to reinvent Nixon's Watergate criminal history.

I'm certain that "rewrite therapy" provides some small amount of anxiety relief for a conservative crowd that is continuously terrified by any notion of change. But as they clamor to rewrite history in a way that eases their fears, and as they rewrite the Bible in a way that changes the spirit of Jesus, I hope they will at least leave in place this small unrevised, unedited Bible verse: The truth shall make you free." John 8:32